Stadio Giuseppe Meazza forms the backdrop for Sunday’s heavily anticipated Serie A encounter between familiar foes Inter and Fiorentina. Let’s look at our match preview for this tasty-looking showdown.
Fresh off securing a deadline-day arrival of Davy Klassen and completing Benjamin Pavard’s blockbuster signing from Bayern Munich, Inter will be looking to maintain a flawless start to the 2023/24 Serie A season. Simone Inzaghi’s side kicked things off in the new campaign with a straightforward 2-0 home triumph over Monza.
After netting a match-winning double against Raffaele Palladino’s side on the opening weekend, Lautaro Martinez was on the scoresheet again last Monday. The Argentine forward followed up Denzel Dumfries’ opener to seal a 2-0 victory over Cagliari, putting Inter on the cusp of a historic feat. Nerazzurri could start a new Serie A season with three consecutive wins ‘to nil’ for the first time since 1966/67.
Standing between Inter and such a distinguished piece of history will be last season’s Europa Conference League runners-up, Fiorentina. Fatigue could be catching up with Vincenzo Italiano’s team following a last-gasp 2-0 home win over Rapid Wien on Thursday. Nicolas Gonzalez’s unanswered second-half double helped La Viola overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit and qualify for this season’s Conference League group stages.
European qualification came as a massive relief for Fiorentina following an unfathomable 2-2 home draw against Lecce last weekend. Italiano’s men were 2-0 up at halftime and appeared in complete control of the proceedings before running out of steam in the second half. Lecce’s late response left La Viola on the edge of despair, but their recent showing in Europe could have renewed the optimism in Tuscany.
Delivering action from the get-go, Inter have netted three of their four league goals this season within the opening half an hour of play. Another quick-fire start would significantly increase the home side’s hopes of arresting a two-game winless H2H run against Fiorentina at Meazza (D1, L1) and avenge last season’s 1-0 defeat at this venue in the process.
It’s been three matches since Inzaghi’s defense last capitulated, which can only boost the hosts’ enthusiasm ahead of this fixture. Though there’s a reason for cautious optimism in the Inter camp, they can draw further confidence from a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Fiorentina in last season’s Coppa Italia title decider.
What Inter can find truly morale-boosting is the fact they’ve won their last four Serie A outings at Meazza via an aggregate score of 12-5.
Player to Watch: Lautaro Martinez
The Argentine has been on fire this season. It’s hard to imagine Inter winning without him on the scoreboard.
Fiorentina’s first road trip of the season yielded a resounding success as they thumped newly-promoted Genoa 4-1 at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Bringing the back end of the 2022/23 campaign into the equation, the visitors are unbeaten on their last three Serie A travels (W2, D1), suggesting they could be taking this trip in a buoyant mood.
Nothing less than confident will do for Fiorentina, considering their woeful H2H record against Inter in Serie A. The abovementioned triumph in this corresponding fixture in April remains their solitary league win over Nerazzurri in their last 12 meetings. Bucking that trend would see La Viola open a new top-flight campaign with unbeaten back-to-back away matches for the first time since 2013/14.
Player to Watch: Nicolas Gonzalez
Like his Inter counterpart Martinez, Gonzalez has been in red-hot form in the early season, finding the net in all but one of Fiorentina’s four competitive matches.
Francesco Acerbi is still out with a long-term injury, but there’s a feeling Pavard could make his Inter debut despite his recent struggle with illness.
As for Fiorentina, Gaetano Castrovilli is unavailable for selection due to a muscle injury. Italiano hopes to welcome Antonin Barak and Jonathan Ikone back to the fold, but it’s a long shot.
Inter vs Fiorentina Potential Lineups
Inter (3-5-2): Yann Sommer; Matteo Darmian, Stefan de Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni; Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Davide Frattesi, Federico Dimarco; Marcus Thuram, Lautaro Martinez.
Fiorentina (4-2-3-1): Pietro Terracciano; Dodo, Nikola Milenkovic, Luca Ranieri, Cristiano Biraghi; Alfred Duncan, Arthur; Nicolas Gonzalez, Giacomo Bonaventura, Christian Kouame; M’Bala Nzola.
Inter vs Fiorentina Prediction
This should be a fun contest, but we back Inter to clip Fiorentina’s wings and stay the only Serie A side with a 100% win ratio this season alongside bitter rivals Milan.
Prediction: Inter Win
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